Ex-sol­dier freed of gun, ammo charges af­ter pros­e­cu­tion fails to prove case

Stabroek News - - REGIONAL NEWS -

Ja­mal Hazel, the for­mer Guyana De­fence Force (GDF) sol­dier who was charged with the il­le­gal pos­ses­sion of a pis­tol and am­mu­ni­tion at the start of the year, was yes­ter­day freed of the charges af­ter the pros­e­cu­tion failed to prove its case against him.

It was al­leged that on Jan­uary 13th, at Mid­dle Road, La Pen­i­tence, Hazel had a .380 pis­tol with­out be­ing the holder of a li­cence.

On the same date, it is also al­leged that he had in his pos­ses­sion nine .380 am­mu­ni­tion rounds with­out be­ing the holder of a li­cence.

Prin­ci­pal Mag­is­trate Judy Latch­man, who presided over the trial, noted that the pros­e­cu­tion re­lied heav­ily on a cau­tion state­ment pur­port­edly made by the ac­cused and which in­di­cated that he pur­chased the weapon in ques­tion from some­one called “Papi” for $160,000.

Mag­is­trate Latch­man also noted that dur­ing the trial Hazel gave sworn ev­i­dence. Dur­ing his tes­ti­mony, he stated that he told a con­sta­ble, “I don’t know bout no gun.”

Hazel fur­ther de­scribed in de­tail, ac­cord­ing to the Mag­is­trate, be­ing as­saulted by po­lice, in­clud­ing be­ing kicked and shoved, and hav­ing a shirt placed over his face and gut­ter wa­ter poured on him by var­i­ous of­fi­cers, whom he iden­ti­fied to the court.

It was at this point that the court heard from Hazel that he took own­er­ship of the gun so that the po­lice would stop beat­ing and as­sault­ing him.

Mag­is­trate Latch­man stated that al­though it was dif­fi­cult to de­ter­mine if the de­fen­dant was truly as­saulted by the po­lice, the court took note of his rec­ol­lec­tion of what oc­curred and the de­tailed ac­count he pre­sented to the court.

The Mag­is­trate said since the only ev­i­dence against the ac­cused was the cau­tion, state­ment, which the court was not pre­pared to ac­cept, the charge against Hazel was dis­missed.

Hazel was also charged with steal­ing over $5 mil­lion in cash dur­ing an armed rob­bery, but had the charge against him dis­missed in May, as the com­plainant opted to of­fer no ev­i­dence against him.

Ja­mal Hazel

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